Time to go down!
It’s interesting going down as this time you could see the view, whereas when you climb all was in darkness. Though for some, the darkness was good to cover out the scene, because now you could actually see where you could fall. Going down from the summit is kinda hard on the knees and toes as your body have to balance itself from the pull down. Then navigating through the ropes requires a bit of rapeling skills. Which I found to be fun actually.
The highest phone booth?
Just of the Sayat-Sayat checkpoint is the highest Phone Booth I’ve seen. Yes, it’s working! They may have put these up in case of emergencies or communications from the other stations or if climbers would like to call their friends, loved ones or relatives and tell them they’ve conquered the peak!
The Laban Rata resthouse.
Shortly, 2 hours later we made it back to Laban Rata Resthouse to rest up a bit and have lunch of canned goods and sandwiches left from our food supply. Everyone were exhausted. I suffered a mild headache and just wanted to lie down and rest there. But we have to checkout soon. Half an hour after noon we were on our way down.
Fascination with trees.
I decided to sprint down as fast as I could as not to allow my legs to wobble. But also to allow myself time to take more pictures. The trees here really fascinate me. I love their thin crooked branches almost intertwining each other. Along with these are the other interesting foreigners who’s just going up the mountain. There’s a variety of Germans, Polish, Indians, Indonesians, Singaporeans and Americans as well. But Mountaineers have this understanding and respect, even if we don’t speak the same language, seeing eye to eye, smiling and nodding is enough to acknowledge each other’s presence.
By half the trail I waited for some of my companions. It was the shelter were the Cable Car is located. I was hoping some of my companions with injuries could use it going down but turns out that only the staff could use it. I guess I shouldn’t have stopped there because after that long rest and snacks, my legs really got wobbly and tired. Going down those uneven steps with high impact on each step gives a lot of pressure to the knees. I really got tired. Each shelter we see is a welcome sight, a sign that the end is near. It was getting dark and the impending afternoon rain was upon us. Fortunately, we were able to reach the Timpohon Gate by 6pm.
Wow. What a journey! I was dead tired while we were waiting for our companions at the resort reception. I thought I was stinking and decided to change with clean dry clothes and take a bath later. Shortly there was this guy from a group who approached me and spoke tagalog. Ei, Filipinoes who just arrived for the climb! Turns out they were from the group “Conquer” and noticed my Conquer and Sandugo Sandals. I bid them goodluck for their climb and shortly the rest of the group arrived. Now we are off to the Poring Hot Spring.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.